It’s rare that it’s difficult to know what to make of a film, but that’s certainly the case with Funny Games. Writer-director Michael Haneke’s 2007 shot-for-shot American remake of his 1997 Austrian film of the same name is a brutal, exactingly formal treatise on the evils of violent entertainment, but is itself violent entertainment. It resembles Stanley Kubrick’s polemical A Clockwork Orange, both in tone and in the way it unnerves not just its characters, but also its audience. The writing and directing are precise and calculated to terrorize. The actors—particularly the ever-real Naomi Watts—do good work here, and the film surprises, but I’m not sure it succeeds as a film (though it might work as a scolding). Not for most people.
**½ (out of *****)
©2018 David R. George III